Unreal Sex

Lectures in SLL3001F, Sex from Sappho to Cyber, 2016

This section of the course covers various expressions of sexuality in computer-mediated communication, both on the internet and in the context of computer games.  The lectures will cover general issues of virtual eroticism, including desire, identity, role-play, the paradox of the virtual body, and the tension between public and private. We will look at two specific case studies as exemplae in virtual eroticism: fan fiction, and computer role-playing games (we will focus specifically on Bioware’s Dragon Age and Mass Effect RPG lines).

The essay question for this section is set on the fan fiction topic, and there will not be an exam question on the fan fiction material.  The exam will offer a choice between questions on general issues of internet eroticism and on sexuality in computer games.


  • 9th May Fan fiction: what the hell is is?
    Reading: Ann Jamison, “Why Fic?”
  • 10th May Power and wish fulfilment
    Readings: fanfic, “The Man in the Workshop”, “People Not Me”
  • 11th May Porn for girls? slash and the female demographic
    Readings: fanfic, I stole the keys to this guy, “When I think (Oh, it terrifies me)”, “Chains”.
    Critical work: Joanna Russ, “Pornography by women for women”
  • 12th May  Wincest and worse: fanfic and transgression
    Readings: fanfic, Holy Ground, “A Lifetime of Calamities”.
    Critical work: Green, “Normal Female Interest”

  • 16th May Our princess is in another castle: computer game romance
    Reading: Poster, “Looking and Acting”
  • 17th May Projecting the body: persona and play
  • 18th May Computer game romance: identity and identification
    Reading: Bissel, “Mass Effects”
  • 19th May Computer game romance: gender and culture

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